Sympathy For A Pro

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Gordon: “Last year, everything that possibly could have went wrong, went wrong. We had a lot of talent. There were a lot of issues in the front office, on the floor, with coaches, with players. It was just a mess. People from the outside looking in don’t realize how bad it was.

Via His Own Words: Ben Gordon on the NBA Lockout, 8/16/11

I feel bad for Ben Gordon. Yes, the same Ben Gordon that made $10.8 million last season. The one who received that huge contract because of his efficient scoring and has failed to score efficiently since. I feel bad for him because, overpaid or not, one-dimensional or not, Gordon is a professional. A professional doesn’t cuss out his coach in front of his teammates or boycott any shootarounds. A professional does his job to the best of his ability, regardless of what’s going on around him. Despite all the off-the-court nonsense, Gordon played all 82 games last year. No other Piston can say that.

It has to be frustrating to be a part of a fractured, chaotic locker room. It has to be extra frustrating when you’re trying to redeem yourself after a disappointing, injury-plagued season. Add the knowledge that you’re on an irrelevant team, just two seasons removed from a 42-point game in one of the best playoff series of all time, as your ex-teammates are steamrolling through the entire league. All this, in your prime, with no sign of the situation turning around? Terrible.

Gordon has to hope that there is, in new coach Lawrence Frank’s words, “a reset” in Detroit. When the players are allowed back to work, the Pistons should feel like a new team. Tayshaun Prince better not be re-signed. Tracy McGrady has to walk, too. They need to exhaust every avenue to trade Rip Hamilton. If it was me, I’d dump Ben Wallace to a contender and strongly consider letting Rodney Stuckey leave, despite his talent. The Pistons have some nice young pieces – Greg Monroe, Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko, and Brandon Knight – but they need the opportunity to develop in the right environment. It’ll still be tough for a guy like Gordon, but rebuilding is better than whatever the hell last season was.

Seth Carstens